Editor's note: From Monday to Thursday this week, we will look at the road each of the eight singles players and eight doubles took to qualify for this year's WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas.
Season at a glance
A last-minute pairing to start the season ended up being the start of a successful year for Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia. In their first tournament as a team, Danilina and Haddad Maia swept to the Sydney title, the first WTA 500 title for either of them.
Their run Down Under continued at the Australian Open, where they made it to a first Grand Slam final. Danilina and Haddad Maia won their first nine matches of their partnership before falling to Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the Australian Open championship match.
"Amazing, another title," Danilina said to Krejcikova and Siniakova during the Australian Open trophy ceremony. "Hopefully we'll meet you again; it was a great match."
Danilina's words proved to be prophetic, with the season coming full circle for her and Haddad Maia at the last event of the year. Danilina and Haddad Maia needed to defeat Krejcikova and Siniakova in the Guadalajara semifinals to grab the last remaining spot in the WTA Finals field.
Indeed, Danilina and Haddad Maia avenged their Melbourne loss to the Czechs, reaching their third team final of the year and clinching a spot in Fort Worth.
Danilina and Haddad Maia's 9-0 start to the year was full of close matches, with seven of those nine contests going down to the wire. Their last three victories in Sydney were won in match-tiebreaks, and the last four of their five Australian Open wins came in three sets.